Allie Mayers and Abigail Hand sand a porch railing Friday evening at a Habitat for Humanity project as part of Jefferson Street United Methodist Youth Group’s Missions Fest.  (Mary Kathryn Carpenter/The Natchez Democrat)
Allie Mayers and Abigail Hand sand a porch railing Friday evening at a Habitat for Humanity project as part of Jefferson Street United Methodist Youth Group’s Missions Fest. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter/The Natchez Democrat)

Jefferson Street UMC youth group spends week serving community

Published 12:06am Saturday, June 14, 2014

By Mary Kathryn Carpenter

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Rachel Benoit has spent the past week of her summer cleaning kitchens.

“I liked cleaning up the Stewpot, because I feel like we take a lot for granted,” said Benoit, a Natchez resident and recent Cathedral School graduate. “Even though we aren’t directly helping people there, it is indirectly helping them so they can get healthy and sanitary meals and have a better life as a result of that.”

Benoit has also cleaned the kitchen at the Natchez Children’s Home and collected canned goods for the Stewpot.

Benoit is a member of the Jefferson Street United Methodist Youth Group.

Last August, during their annual planning retreat at Lake St. John, Jefferson Street United Methodist Youth Group set aside a week during the summer with one goal: to spend it helping others.

For the past week, the group has been doing acts of service in different parts of the community as part of their annual missions fest.

“The goal of missions fest is to reach out to other people and do what we are called to do as Christians,” youth group president Trey Hand said. “It’s a week where we all go out and work for people who need it.”

The group has spent the week volunteering at he Stewpot, the children’s home and Watkins Street Cemetery.

“I always think it’s good to help people through actions instead of words,” summer youth worker Tyler Jordan said of the weeklong event. “It’s a great way for the group to help out and for them to shine the light of Christ on the world.”

Each day for the past week, the group met up in the evening to do two hours of service and then share dinner together that was provided by a parent of one the youth.

John Hudson, youth minister of Jefferson Street, said the group has hosted this event for approximately 15 years, maybe longer.

“I just think that over the years, I enjoy seeing teenagers get out there and jump into the work,because they know they are doing something significant and something that touches the divine,” Hudson said. “They are so excited about doing nasty work, because they feel Christ in their lives.”

Hand believes the event is successful because of the rallying force of the group.

“We are notorious for getting a lot of work done fast,” Hand said.

The group will finish their work today when they visit a house on Martin Luther King Jr. Street being built by Habitat for Humanity.